Posted October 16, 2012 by Mikael Angelo Francisco in Movies/TV


Note: This review contains a few vague spoilers.
Universal Pictures, Solar-UIP
Philippine Release Date: October 17, 2012
MTRCB Rating: R-13
96 minutes

The tagline of the movie Alex Cross is simple and direct to the point: Don’t ever cross Alex Cross.

Aside from the obvious play on words, the sentence also capitalizes on the implied threat that anybody who makes the mistake of pissing off the titular character can definitely expect terrible things to happen to their person. From the start of the film, Alex Cross makes sure that the audience understands that the tagline is no empty threat; Detective Doctor Cross – to emphasize the protagonist’s multiple proficiencies as psychologist, criminal investigator, and law enforcer – is quickly established as one of the only two competent characters during the film’s 96-minute runtime.

This is perhaps my biggest gripe with the film. You see, when your protagonist is basically a Superman that looks like a regular Joe, all sense of dread AND empathy go flying out the window. It would have been easier to accept if a portion of the film were devoted to establishing Detective Doctor Cross’s credibility instead of relying on the rest of the characters constantly bowing to him. Now, I don’t know if this is how the character was written in the source material, but it really seems like this film strongly violates the “show, don’t tell” rule.

Actually, if you sit through the film and suddenly get the feeling that you’re actually beginning somewhere in the middle of the story (thanks mainly to the lack of setup), you’d be technically correct. This film is an attempt to reboot the movie franchise spawned from a series of novels by James Patterson. The first two adaptations (Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider) were released in 1997 and 2001 respectively, and featured Morgan Freeman in the starring role.

The only other competent character – the unnamed villain, listed only in the credits as “Picasso” – is definitely creepy, and offsets Detective Doctor Cross’s psychology background nicely. He is never referred to using a proper name during the entirety of the film, and the moniker he used in the book, “The Butcher,” is only used once. This was during a brutal fight scene near the beginning of the film that served to establish both his lethal combat prowess and his mental instability. Unfortunately, the inclusion of the mixed martial arts/fight scene at the beginning of the film further makes it harder to accept the violent one-on-one final brawl between Detective Doctor Cross and “Picasso.” Are we really supposed to believe that an overweight police detective with probably limited basic police force hand-to-hand combat training can provide a decent challenge for a lean, acrobatic, powerful assassin with no inhibitions about killing?

The level of gore in the film is also surprising at times. Clear depictions of mutilation and murder are prevalent and even crucial to the plot, earning this film an R-13 rating.

These gripes notwithstanding, some form of enjoyment CAN be derived from watching Alex Cross,  mostly involving the emotional scenes in the film, the scenes involving Detective Doctor Cross’s family, and the ending, which you’d probably be able to predict.


It’s an adequate popcorn/action movie, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were to be better-received by critics than its two predecessors.


A big big “thank you!” goes out to our friends from Solar-UIP for the special screening of Alex Cross – be sure to Like them on Facebook!

Mikael Angelo Francisco